Coping With Temper Tantrums
By: CJ Krebs
All parents with children have either experienced it or will experience it sooner than they think. Tantrums! Every parent has had those little humungous moments when their child screams, kicks, or even drops to the floor. You know what I'm talking about. This usually happens when a child is upset or angry and doesn't exactly know how to say so. You can help teach your child better ways to express these feelings as they get older.
So, do you give in to these little tantrums? What about when you are in public and are embarrassed? The answer is "No." No matter what the situation may be, never give into a tantrum. If you do, your child will learn that tantrums work like a charm and continue to exercise them out whenever and where ever. If you make a promise to buy them something if they be quiet, you are watering the seed that makes these tantrums sprout. Therefore, your child has learned how to push your buttons. You must stand your ground and not give in, even if you have to leave the scene.
Here are some ways to help prevent a tantrum. You can't prevent all problems, but you can keep some from developing beforehand.
- Talk to your child about changes in daily routines. If you will be going shopping tomorrow, tell them. That way they will know that they will be missing "Blues Clues" earlier, and maybe you can record it for them.
- Tell your child what you expect from them before you enter a public place.
- Warn them ahead of time of changes in activities or interruptions. Before it is bedtime, tell her about 15 mins. ahead of time that it will soon be bedtime and she may play for a few more minutes.
- Be sensitive to your child. If you go to someone else's birthday party, make sure to spend extra time with your child.
- Plenty of rest rest-assures not so cranky kids. A tired child is more likely to throw a tantrum quicker than a rested child would think about it.
- Exercise that energy off. Dancing, jumping, running, etc., can help burn off all that extra energy. You wouldn't want them to use all that extra energy on a tantrum instead.
So, you've got a little humungous tantrum on your hands. It snuck up behind you and there it is. Now what? Well, here are some little tips that might help out during those little unexpected moments.
- What ever you do, "Stay Calm."
- Try not to respond or show any emotional expressions.
- If you have to, hold your child to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Let them know, in a calm tone, that you won't let them hurt themselves or others.
- If you are in a public place, carry your child out to the car or in a private place. Make certain to tell them that you will not go back inside until they calm down. If they don't calm down, drive home. Sometimes you have to run errands another time to ensure that your child knows you mean what you say and say what you mean.
- If you are at home, leave the room for a few minutes but stay where you can hear them. (As long as they are not hurting themselves). If you prefer, just turn away instead of leaving the room.
- Use a "time out" if necessary. Only allow your child to stay in time out a minute per age (If they are 3, then they get 3 minutes). Make certain to calmly explain to your child that they can come out if they calm down. If they refuse, explain to them that the time out period starts over again.
- Suggest a way your child can calm themselves. Example: "I know you are really angry that it is almost time for bed. Maybe we can read a book before bedtime starts. Your pick tonight!"
Above all, always remember: Never give in to tantrums!
© 2002 CJ Krebs
CJ Krebs, proud mother of four children, who writes short parenting articles and bible studies.